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Women’s representation, still a long way to go

Sarah Jane Baines, the first suffragette to be tried by jury (Photo: Women’s Social Political Union)

Yasmin Qureshi MP

100 years ago this month, a motley collection of women, from weavers to aristocrats to teachers, achieved the biggest change in voting rights in British history. In a movement that spanned legal battles to bombings, these women took a stand and won against the government of the most powerful country in the world.

This was truly a case of ordinary people achieving extraordinary things as, armed with an unshakeable belief in equality, they battled in the face of discrimination, abuse and open violence. Sarah Jane Baines was one of many working class women who suffered and fought for her ideals. Having started working in an arms factory at the age of 11, she later was imprisoned 15 times and endured hard labour and forced feeding which left her with lifelong health problems. Her experience of violence was not rare. For instance, Mary Gawthorpe, a teacher who had grown up in poverty and became a passionate advocate for suffrage, suffered numerous violent beatings in the course of her campaigning.

Both women had been born into a system which refused to hear their voices, marginalised first by class and then by law. Transgressing these boundaries, they worked alongside luminaries of the movement such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett to alter the course of British history.

Looking back, the suffragettes and suffragists were heroines who shaped not only their world but also ours. Their refusal to be cowed, their strength in the face of adversity, and their visionary hope for a country in which gender does not limit our opportunities nor define our achievements, continues to inspire those who seek equality.

However, while lauding the achievements of these women, it is worth imagining what they would say if they could survey the landscape today. With an estimated 85,000 women raped in England and Wales each year, it is clear that whilst cases such as Weinstein make the news, this is a much larger problem than lone ‘bad eggs’. In employment, there remains a 14.1% wage gap between men and women, and the World Economic Forum estimates that this will take another 100 years to fully close. Even in Parliament, the issue of access remains stark; whilst there are now a record 208 female MPs, this represents a paltry 32% of the total seats.

It is clear that the journey these brave women started is one we still tread. If anything, this centenary commemoration should remind us that whilst progress may have been great, there remains a long way to go. However, more than anything, this reminds us that, in the words of Emily Wilding Davison, it is ‘deeds, not words’ that will bring about the changes that women deserve.

Yasmin Qureshi is Labour MP for Bolton South East and Shadow Justice Minister

Celebrating the role of women in public life

‘The disgraceful scene in the House’, Daily Graphic, 1906 (Image: Parliamentary Art)

Baroness Manzoor CBE

100 years ago our Parliament building looked much like it does today – but the members of Parliament looked very different. Most noticeably there were no women here because women weren’t allowed to vote or stand for election. The Representation of the People Act and the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act are the laws that changed all of that.

These Acts gave the first women the right to vote and stand for election and they received Royal Assent 1918 – 100 years ago this year. As we celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage it is right to remember the heroic campaigns of the women who brought about this change and paved the way for basic equality between men and women.

The struggle for votes for women started long before 1918. The first petition was launched in 1832 and brave women from different cultural, social and political backgrounds continued to make their case throughout the 19th century. Progress was slow and the fight continued into the 1900s led by Millicent Fawcett, Head of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

The label ‘suffragettes’ was given to the more extreme campaigners for women’s votes, supported by the Pankhurst family and the Women’s Social and Political Union. Fed up with the lack of progress being made, they took radical action, including chaining themselves to railings and statues and going on hunger strikes, to raise awareness of their campaign.

One of the suffragettes central to this mission was the Indian Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, who was often seen distributing suffragette newspapers outside her apartment at Hampton Court. Like other women, she took huge risks to herself and her loved ones and on one occasion was forcibly ejected from the Parliamentary Estate alongside Emmeline Pankhurst. The suffragettes were prepared to risk their lives to achieve their aims.

Representation of women in public life has come a long way since 1918, but progress has not gone far enough. Since 1918, 4,801 men have been elected to Parliament and only 489 women – and of those women – only a small proportion has been from an ethnic minority background. Inspired by the courage of our brave Indian Princess, the campaign to improve ethnic minority representation in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords must go on!

I am pleased that the Fawcett Society has launched the #OurTimeNow campaign which aims to break down the barriers of gender inequality throughout 2018 and beyond. I urge women, and particularly ethnic minority women, to get behind this campaign. We must make our voices heard if we want to make a difference to the lives of women in our communities. I put this challenge to you all – the suffragettes did it, and so can we.

Baroness Manzoor CBE is Conservative Peer in the House of Lords

Closure of Sharia councils not viable option, review finds

Hamed Chapman

Sharia councils are not quite the ogre they are as presented by sections of the media, certain agenda groups and even some politicians, according to a year-long review into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales.

“It is clear from all the evidence that Sharia councils are fulfilling a need in some Muslim communities,” said the review set up by Theresa May in May 2016 when she was Home Secretary. “We consider the closure of Sharia councils is not a viable option.”

In a forward to the report, Chair of the appointed review panel, Professor Mona Siddiqui, raised the spectre that the “rise of extremism was seen as evidence of a lack of social and political integration within many parts of the UK.”  The observance of Sharia, she pointed out, was “regarded by some as keeping many Muslims isolated, entrenched and with little social and psychological stake in wider British citizenship and civic life.”

Under May’s terms of reference, the review was to examine ways that “Sharia may be being used which may cause harm in communities”, the role of particular groups and Islamic authorities, the role of Sharia councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals, the treatment of women and seeking out examples of best practice in relation to governance, transparency, and assuring compliance and compatibility with UK law.

Although the report was published on February 1 it was unable to establish how many Sharia councils there were for unspecified reasons other than there were “no accurate statistics”. It relied on estimates varying between 30 to 85. It also found there was “no clear definition of what constitutes a Sharia council.” It also suggested it was misleading to call them courts presided over by judges.

For the purpose of the review, they were defined as voluntary local associations of scholars who see themselves or are seen by their communities as authorised to offer advice to Muslims principally in the field of religious marriage and divorce. As such, it found both good and bad practices, including some that were seen as discriminatory and some even at the same council.

Although Sharia councils have no legal status and no legally binding authority under the civil law, they acted in a decision-making capacity when dealing with issues like Islamic divorce. In most of the cases (their evidence over 90%), it was women seeking advice to get a religious divorce. A key finding was that a significant number of Muslim couples did not civilly register their marriages and therefore there was no other avenue for obtaining a divorce.

Three major recommendations were made including the first proposing legislative amendments to the Marriage Act 1949 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. This was to ensure that civil marriages are conducted before or at the same time as the Islamic marriage ceremony, bringing Muslims in line with Christian and Jewish marriage in the eyes of the law. Also included would be a short insertion in the law to bring Islamic divorce in line with that of the Jewish Get.

The second was the need to raise awareness campaigns about rights within the community as well not to also mention the availability of legal aid. The third was to call for the self-regulation of Sharia councils to design a code of practice that would be implemented, but this was not unanimously supported and would also require a one-off cost to the Government to establish the body.

The immediate response by the Home Office was to rule out the review’s recommendation to regulate Sharia councils. “Sharia law has no jurisdiction in the UK and we would not facilitate or endorse regulation, which could present councils as an alternative to UK laws.”

“In Britain we have a long tradition of freedom of worship and religious tolerance, where many people of different faiths follow religious codes and practices and benefit from their guidance. The Government has no intention of changing this position.” The Home Office though would “consider carefully the review’s findings and its remaining recommendations.”

Muslim women dominate New Years Honours

Nuzhat Saleh CBE, Sadi Khan MBE and Poppy Jaman OBE

Nadine Osman

Women have dominated the total number of Muslims honoured in the Queen’s New Year Honours this year. Ten out of the 16 members of the community recognised are women, despite a drop from the 21 awards handed to Muslims in 2017.

Muslim recipients (1 CBE, 4 OBEs, 10 MBEs and 1 Diplomatic MBE) come from across the country representing a vast array of fields including health, policing, women’s rights and community cohesion.

Nuzhat Saleh, Assistant Director of Legal Services for the Metropolitan Police and who was for some time the force’s most senior female staff member, is to receive a CBE.

Since joining the police force in 1988 Saleh has worked on many of the most contentious issues that the Met has faced. She also had a leading role in the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales; and her experience in dealing with public inquiries led her to produce a guide which is widely used by lawyers and officers throughout the country.

Saleh has contributed enormously to the aims of the Met through her work dealing with more routine legal challenges and, importantly, ensuring that the Met learns lessons for the future. She has regularly provided training to officers, in particular about the lawful exercise of their powers.

In a statement to The Muslim News Saleh said: “This achievement has only been possible because I was entrusted and given the opportunity to undertake many challenging and high profile cases, and for the support given to me by numerous committed officers and staff across this great organisation.”

Mental Health First Aid England co-founder and CEO, Poppy Jaman, has been awarded an OBE in recognition of her services to people with mental health issues.

Growing up in a deprived area of Portsmouth and her own experience of post-natal depression helped Jaman to develop an understanding of the challenges facing people with mental health issues, particularly among diverse groups.

Her 20 years’ experience of influencing and leading change in public mental health, Jaman has worked in a number of roles which have required her to challenge the public’s perception of mental ill health.

Jaman also sits on the board of Public Health England as a non-executive Director and advises on public mental health and community development, drawing attention to the connection of physical health with mental health in order to improve public mental health across the country.

Jaman told The Muslim News, “The very fact that mental health advocates are beginning to be recognised at this level is an indication of the progress our whole community has made in recent years to change public perceptions of mental illness and mental health.”

Sadi Khan, founder of Noble Khan, a cultural awareness training provider has been awarded an MBE for her work in cultural and religious awareness training and services to vulnerable women.

Khan became the first woman in sixteen years to win the prestigious Learning and Performance Institute’s Gold Trainer of the Year Award. Her high reputation in the field of cultural and religious awareness and behind the scenes work for many organisations paved way for her to become the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Nottinghamshire Cricket Board, and has made history by being the first Asian/Muslim woman to be appointed on the board.

At the same time as empowering others in cultural understanding, she started on her another educational mission – to empower, educate and give women a voice stemming from her own domestic abuse from an arranged marriage at the age of 19. She gave inspirational talks and coaching for corporations and schools, nationally and abroad, which resulted in her winning the Woman’s Aid Empowering Women Award in 2011. A few years later and then again earlier this year she was awarded the Super Achiever by the World Women Leadership Congress in India.

“I hope that having these letters after my name will add power to the work we do not just in organisations taking cultural/religious training seriously but also in putting an end to violence against women and children,” Khan said in a statement to The Muslim News.

Afrasiab Anwar is to be made an MBE for his services to community cohesion in Burnley.

The 38-year-old has committed more than half his life to improving the lives of others, particularly young people.

From using sport to engage young people and deflect them away from anti-social behaviour, to developing a role as a faith co-ordinator, he has encouraged and helped shape the lives of many people across all communities.

His involvement in Building Bridges, a local inter-faith organisation, in a voluntary capacity for over eight years, has brought people of different faiths, ages and backgrounds together.

His work has been recognised through the local leisure trust’s annual community sports awards and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Awards.

Sajda Majeed, 44, has also been honoured for services to the community in Burnley.

The community worker is also to be made an MBE for her 15-year contribution to improving lives of people of Burnley.

It has seen her play a central role in the development of the Chai Centre in Burnley, a multi-purpose integrated health and community venue in the heart of the community, with Majeed being the vision behind the centre.

She helped bring approximately around £1 million to the area and led the creation of a gym and healthy lifestyles café, both of which she managed as a campaigner for women’s health.

She is also a parent governor at Sir John Thursby School and sits on the Clinical Commissioning Group panel supporting funding initiatives.

Among the 1,123 other people awarded in the New Year Honours are 26 members of the Jewish community (1 CBE, 4 OBEs, 12 MBE s and 9 BEM) and 25 members of the Hindu and Sikh communities (1 Damehood, 7 OBEs, 7 MBEs, 6 BEMs, 1 QAM, 2 Commonwealth CBEs, 1 Commonwealth OBE)


Other Muslims in the New Years Honours:


Raja Mohammed Adil, Chair, The Adil Group, for services to business, job creation and charity.

Dr Shabana Rounak Haque, Head, Government Science and Engineering Profession Team, Government Office for Science, for services to civil service science and the engineering profession.

Aina Khan, for services to the protection of women and children in unregistered marriages.


Dr Anwara Ali, GP, East London, for services to community healthcare.

Neelam Farzana, who in 2007 set up The Listening Service to address a gap in provision of mental health support for the BAME community.

Haji Mohammad Yaqub Joya, for services to the army and the Muslim community in Northern Ireland.

Elinor Chohan, Chair, North West Regional Board, Remembering Srebrenica, for services to interfaith and community cohesion.

Mubeen Yunus Patel, Administrative Officer, Personal Tax Operations, HM Revenue and Customs, for services to public sector digital transformation programme.

Naeem Rabbani Qureshi, for services to the community in Sparkbrook, Birmingham.

Summera Naheed Shaheen, Owner, The Diamond Studio, for services to business and the community in Glasgow.


Leila Memmi, Vice Consul, British Embassy, Tunis, for services to British victims and families of the terrorist attack in Sousse, Tunisia

Jewish Chronicle editor slammed for Iran-Iraq war joke

Nadine Osman

The Editor of the Jewish Chronicle has come under fire earlier this month for making a tactless joke about the Iran and Iraq war in which more than a million people lost their lives.

Stephen Pollard is accused of inciting hatred and bigotry following a tweet in which the staunch Tottenham Hotspur fan compared a match between Chelsea and Arsenal to the war between Iran and Iraq because he wanted both sides to lose.

“Time to wheel out my regular comment,” tweeted Pollard on January 3. “It’s Arsenal v Chelsea tonight, the football version of the Iran/Iraq war when you want both sides to lose.”

Other Twitter users condemned Pollard for his remarks about a war in which more than a million people were killed.“I wonder what your reaction would of [sic] been if someone made football related jokes about the Holocaust!” one furious twitter user responded.

Another tweeted: “Wow, how callous can you be? 1 million people died and 10s of thousand people suffer from chemical attack and you make this comment. What is next? you will compare it to Holocaust?”

Others described the comment as “vile” and “disgusting”.

Many branded his tweet Islamophobic. “You despicable man. A million people died & you make fun of them? Is this implicit #Islamophobia coming out? If someone had made such a hideous analogy with Israel etc you’d be crying antisemitism. Truly hideous man”.

“His hate and contempt for Arabs and Muslims are so obvious. And this is the editor of a major Jewish paper!” wrote another angry user.

One took aim at Pollard’s well-known support for Israel: “Is it a bit like the Israeli Palestinian conflict where you wish Israel would just leave after their away game with Palestine, instead of permanently making the stadium their home?”

Teen volunteers support East end food drive

Hosaam Safdar and Muhit Chowdhury greeted Tesco customers as they came in with a list of items most needed by charities (Photo: Islamic Relief)

Nadine Osman

Two teens offered a helping hand to FareShare’s annual food collection to help those in need this Christmas.

Hosaam Safdar and Muhit Chowdhury, both aged 19, supported this year’s food drive at Tesco in Whitechapel, East London, which took place over three days in early December.

The pair who were volunteering for Islamic Relief greeted customers as they came in with a list of items most needed by charities. The aim was to encourage shoppers to buy items and donate them at the end of their shop.

In just three hours the volunteers collected 32 crates of food. FareShare estimates that equate to enough food to make 600 meals.Safdar said: “‘Helping out at the food drive was one of the most important experiences of my life. I feel we need to do more for our local community and those in need. This is such a great initiative. I am so glad that I was able to take part.”

Celebrating achievements of young Muslim poets and writers

Umar Ibrahim from Cambridge winner of the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017

(Photo: Young Muslim Writers Award)

Ahmed J Versi

Ten young Muslim writers won the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017 on December 9 in central London. In addition, a Special Recognition Award was presented to a young boy for his bravery in saving lives and for championing the right to education.

350 people joined in the celebration of recognising young talents in the Muslim community at the fifth awards event, a project of the Muslim Hands organised in association with Yusuf Islam Foundation.

Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, 15, received the Muslim Hands Special Recognition Award for his bravery in saving lives and for championing the right to education. 144 people, mostly children, were shot dead when gunmen open fired at Peshawar’s Army Public School in December 2014. A student at the school, Khan, was shot four times after helping four children to safety and whilst trying to save a friend. Paralysed from the waist down, his family appealed for help on national TV, securing the support of many celebrities and property developer Malik Riaz Hussain. The family were able to raise funds for Khan’s treatment in London. Since his treatment, he is able to walk again and has settled in London where he has now started his GCSE’s.

“Thank you to Muslim Hands for this award. We, the children, are the future. The future lies in our hands, but only through knowledge. Education is the only solution; education must come first,” Khan said.

Umar Ibrahim, 6, won the Writer of the Year 2017 award as well as winning Key Stage 1 Short Story and Short Poetry.

“I was shocked and exhilarated to win the Young Muslim writer’s Award. It was totally unexpected. I can’t wait to enter next year!,” Ibrahim told The Muslim News.

Ibrahim tries to capture the beauty of nature in his writing. “From the cacophony and pandemonium in the medinas of Marrakech to the silent wilderness of the African bush where Cape turtle doves coo in their nests and tufts of old man’s beard drift through the evening air – all these experiences are ineffable but I try to capture some of this magic in my writing.”

Muhammad Ibrahim Khan received the Muslim Hands Special Recognition Award for his bravery in saving lives and for championing the right to education (Photo: Young Muslim Writers Award)

He loves sitting up in the trees “with my binoculars and watching the birds and animals. This inspires me to write stories about them.”

“After camping out in the Sahara desert I wrote about sleeping under the stars by a crackling fire and witnessing shooting stars and the Milky Way stretching across the heavens. The best way to write and create good descriptions is by experiencing it first,” he added.

For him, the most enjoyable way to share his stories is with his family “There is nothing more exciting than lighting your own fire and sitting around with your family sharing stories under a blanket,” he said.

Deputy CEO of Muslim Hands, Shahid Bashir, said, “You cannot have a pluralistic, multicultural society that is at peace without understanding one another. We have to communicate sincerely, and with creative writing, there is no substitute for this. To all the writers here today and the writers of tomorrow, you are bastions of that peace. You are the defenders and the propagators of that.”


Winners of the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017

Key Stage 1 Poetry: ‘Oggletrog’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)
Key Stage 1 Short Story: ‘The Tree Kings’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)
Key Stage 2 Poetry: ‘All Those Creatures Around Our Home’ by Maryam Hafsa Khan (from Silsden, West Yorkshire)
Key Stage 2 Short Story: ‘The Adventures of the Super Strawberry’ by Haadi Siddiqui (from Middlesex)
Key Stage 3 Poetry: ‘Play That Song’ by Amaani Khan (from Oxfordshire)
Key Stage 3 Short Story: ‘Verily, With Hardship’ by Ruqayyah Ahmed (from Forest Hill, London)
Key Stage 4 Poetry: ‘Am I’ by Hanniya Kamran (from Leicester)
Key Stage 4 Short Story: ‘The Game’ by Nada El-Hammoud (from Paddington, London)
Key Stage 3 Journalism: ‘Child Terrorism’ by Zaina Khan (from Bradford)
Writer of the Year Award: ‘The Tree Kings’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)

Yeshurun Synagogue hosts Muslim and Jewish women’s Twinning event

Yeshurun Synagogue hosts twinning event (Photo courtesy of We Stand Together)

Nadine Osman

Yeshurun Synagogue in Cheadle hosted a special twinning interfaith event on December 21. The event was attended by 20 Muslim and Jewish women from Cheadle and Didsbury mosques and the Yeshurun and Menorah synagogues.

The Twinning event was organised by novelist and co-Chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester and We Stand Together Qaisra Shahraz.

The event celebrated and promoted unity and the common elements of both faiths, Islam and Judaism. Muslim women learnt about Hanukkah and Jewish religious rituals during the tour of the synagogue.

A peace poem was read by Sue Stern, a local Jewish author while Marilyn Berg delighted the guests with funny stories and jokes including about Greggs the bakers.

Shahraz said: “I am delighted that this Twinning event of Jewish and Muslim women from two Mosques and two synagogues went exceedingly well. We could not stop talking, smiling, hugging and sharing our stories-and happily posing with ‘We Stand Together’ and ‘Spread Hummus Not Hate’ peace banners.”

She also thanked Yeshurun Synagogue for their “superb hospitality, including providing us freshly baked festive latke potato pancakes, hot from the oven to celebrate the Jewish festival of light, Hanukkah”.

Berg, Vice-Chair of the Yeshurun Synagogue said she was “delighted to host this twinning event. It was full of laughter, friendship and helped to break down any barriers. We found out more about what united us than divided us. And we respected our differences.”

Rubbiah Hamanyu representing Cheadle Mosque said, “As people of faith, we have much in common. It is important therefore that our common values of neighbourliness, justice and love for humankind always shine through.”

Awarding authors on Palestine

Ilan Pappe won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Palestine Book Awards dinner (Photo: MEMO)

Ahmed J Versi

The sixth annual Palestine Book Awards, flagship of Middle East Monitor (MEMO), took place in London on November 24.

Commenting on the more than 40 entries submitted for consideration for this year’s awards, Trustee of the Palestine Book Awards, Victoria Brittain, expressed delight at the fact that the event had surpassed all expectations and hoped the award would continue well into the future.

Nine books were shortlisted into three categories – academic, memoir and creative – after painstaking efforts by a panel of expert judges. This year the judges also decided to include a lifetime achievement award.

Professor Illan Pappe, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award, in his keynote address, said Palestinian rights had been compromised for Israeli demands.

He described the contributions of the likes of the late Edward Said and Walid Khalidi – two prominent Palestinian intellectuals – in “creating protected spaces and enter mainstream production of knowledge”, which prior to their groundbreaking efforts had been suppressed in the world of academia.

Pappe explained the difficulty of publishing a book “that was suspected of being pro-Palestinian”. Intellectuals like Said needed to “use their fame to write books on Palestine”. Said, explained Pappe, fused “activism with scholarship”.

“In the case of the Zionist occupation, facts do not speak for themselves,” said Pappe, “they require a narrative.” He spoke about his own effort in 2007 to create his “own safe space” to develop scholarship of Palestine, citing the bravery of the publishers of his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine as an example of the pendulum swinging towards historical truth and honesty.

“These new scholars,” Pappe pointed out, were given the “permission to narrate”, they “used their trade” for a just cause and “deconstructed Zionism and classified Israel as an apartheid state.”

The prize for the best academic book saw two winners: Gaza Under Hamas: From Islamic Democracy to Islamist Governance by Bjorn Brenner and Laila Parsons’ book The Commander: Fawzi Al-Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Independence 1914-1948.

During his acceptance speech, Brenner mentioned that it had taken him “six difficult years” living in Gaza with the Palestinians to produce a book that gave a voice to the people in Gaza.

In her acceptance speech, Parsons explained that her work tried to frame the Palestinian history as part of a wider “history of anti-colonial struggle”. She said that this history continues to this day as Palestine continues to be “colonised by the Israeli state”.

The winner of the Creative Award went to Samia Halaby for Drawing the Kafr Qasem Massacre. The book which was described by the author as “documentary drawing”, portrays the 1956 massacre that took place in Kafr Qasem at the hands of Israeli forces.

The winner of the Memoir Award.was Ella Shohat for her book On the Arab-Jew, Palestine, and other Displacements. Shohat described her “incredible experience and voyage of understanding” she had undergone in discovering her “own history of dispossession and in reclaiming my Iraqiness”.

More flaws exposed on implementation of Prevent extremism duties

Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 UK universities have a statutory duty to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism’ (Photo: Creative Commons)

Hamed Chapman

There is a “void of comprehension” in statutory duties imposed on universities to remain vigilant to signs of so-called extremism that poses a “serious risk of defensive reporting as well as a disproportionate focus on suspect communities,” a new academic study has warned.

“Without adequate knowledge and skills lecturers are not equipped to conduct the work mandated upon them,” a report published by the Criminology Department at Birmingham City University found.
More pressing, it argued, is that “neoliberal approaches adopted by governments and universities towards security and education present a troubling perspective on how profit may override all else and indeed how open and critical debate is enjoyed.”

The research, entitled ‘What does terrorism look like?’, examined the interpretation of controversial Prevent extremism duties imposed on university lecturers by the UK Counter Terrorism and Security Act (CTSA) that was rushed through Parliament in 2015. The duties were imposed on local authorities, the police, prisons, probation services, schools and colleges as well as universities to effectively monitor those they supervise for signs of radicalisation.

Based on 20 interviews with UK university lecturers, the paper examines the reactions of the academic community to this governmental mandate. Key to their understanding was the “deputisation of lecturers into a security regime and how they perform the duty of identifying and monitoring extremism.”

Equally were forms of resistance that were evident as well as confusion around the CTSA due to the ambiguous language in which it is presented.

To gain some clarity about the impact of the statutory duties, the authors, Keith Spiller, Imran Awan and Andrew Whiting submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office.

It asked for details on the number of referrals made, how these referrals corresponded to the Channel assessment framework, did referrals lead to participation in de-radicalisation programmes, and completion rates of CTSA training programmes.

It was learnt that 29,238 Higher Education/Further Education staff (includes any post-secondary school study towards a degree or a vocational qualification) have received training. But other requests were declined on the basis that releasing the information may prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs and there is a lack of public interest. The inadequate response, it said, maybe a “continued reflection of the ambiguity of the CTSA message.”

Despite the those trained, the number was just a fraction of the 201,380 academic staff and 208,750 non-academic staff working in UK Universities according to this year’s latest official figures. “The inconsistency of training across the sector will be a contributing factor when lecturers express their lack of knowledge when tasked with identifying radical behaviours,” the authors say.

It was a lack of knowledge that exists while staff are bound by the CTSA mandate to monitor and report.

The lack of training itself though, it was suggested, may only “serve to increase lecturer’s feelings of being more knowledgeable about the subject and in turn, their confidence identifying the signs of radicalisation, (but) it does not address deeper issues within the knowledge base that informs the training.

As previously exposed by Cage and others, it is the deeply flawed Extremist Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+) which is supposed to help public sector employees spot anybody vulnerable to the risk of ‘radicalisation’.

The assessment tool has already been deemed to be a model “unfit for purpose.” The 22 factors were not only produced in secret but subsequently relied on an evidence base that was not just unproven and extended far beyond the parameters set by the psychologists who originally developed it.

The latest research believed that a significant problem is that it will be hard to overcome the flaws until aspects like the ERG22 are officially published and debated. “Overlooking the disquiet we felt about viewing our students with suspicion, we were perplexed as to how we could identify a terrorist or terrorism?” the authors said. Before carrying out their interviews, they also wondered if other academics express similar reservations towards their counterterrorism duty and how does this new role impact on their university responsibilities.

“There are clearly concerns about the practical implications of making this a legal requirement to “inform” on students as potential extremists. In addition, institutions face a challenge to their renown for openness, tolerance and freedom of expression. Why a style of dress can be worrisome or why the topic of debate is reportable to Government agencies, all remain deeply problematic to the lecturers we spoke to in UK Universities.”

“Through formally enshrining this duty in law and deputising academic staff into a programme of state surveillance, the Government risks breeding more suspicion between students and staff. Staff remain uncomfortable with the CTSA because they are being asked to act in a way that runs contrary to their understanding of what universities and expressions of intellectual freedoms, as well as creating an environment where staff with inadequate indicators are expected to monitor and report on suspicious behaviour,” the report concluded.

London Islamic School wins TfL accreditation

London Islamic School’s YTA Ambassadors collect their silver accreditation for their school travel plan at City hall (Photo: LIS)

Elham Asaad Buaras

London Islamic School has been awarded silver accreditation in their School Travel Plan. Transport for London’s (TfL) STARS programme was launched in 2007 to encourage children, parents and teachers to adopt more sustainable ways of travelling to school around the capital.

More than 1,500 schools in the capital are judged on the number of initiatives delivered and their success in changing travel behaviour with Bronze, Silver and Gold accreditation levels.

The all-boys Muslim school was awarded ‘School of excellence pupil led project award 2017’ in an event held at the City Hall Chambers on December 5.

The school was also highlighted as one of the top performing schools in London by receiving a ‘School of excellence award’ which recognises schools that have demonstrated outstanding achievements in one of seven travel areas: walking, scootering, cycling, road safety, public transport, pupil led projects and partnership working. LIS was awarded the award under the category of pupil-led projects, demonstrating the best in peer-to-peer leadership.

The Youth Travel (YTA)Ambassadors team comprised of students: Hanif Hussain, Yamin Yusuf, Mizanur Rahman, Musab Dayah Ali, Waseem Nawaz and Abdul-Muhsin Muadth.

Among the many well-executed ideas the YTA team formulated is an analytical travel survey which tracked travel efficiency and paired students travelling from the same destination in a car share scheme.

The students also set up an active travel week which consisted of giving pedometers to registered members, tracking cards to those who cycled or got of a few stops earlier to walk, a breakfast club for the participants who arrived to school early, data analysis on their improvements and finally certificates issued to students who completed the programme for the week.

Head of Citizenship at the school Mohammed Yaser, told The Muslim News “I’m extremely proud of the boys in the YTA team, they have worked with immense dedication and commitment to get to where we are right now, I did not anticipate that the boys would be able to build a project of this nature from scratch to promote active travel not only for our students, but we can now proudly say for the whole community.”

Mayor launches East London Mosque archives strong-room

Chair East London Mosque Habibur Rahman and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launch the Archive Strong Room (Photo: Courtesy of East London Mosque)

Ahmed J Versi

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, inaugurated the first ever British Muslim Archives strong-room at the East London Mosque Trust on November 22.

“It’s an absolute privilege for me as the Mayor of London, to be at the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, where we open the Archives,” said Khan.

The archives, which have been preserved for 107 years is “a great example of Muslims contributing to the wellbeing of East London more than a hundred years ago but also shows how the organisation has grown and helped our city become the greatest city in the World,” added Mayor of London.

Praising the archive work done by the East London Mosque, Khan said “by chronicling our history, the East London Mosque has done a service to the next generation. It ensures that we have a full and proper account of the past, we can benefit from the knowledge, experience and wisdom of all those that went before us.”

The Mayor told The Muslim News that the archives shows that “we have to recognise that this was through the hard work of our fathers and forefathers by fundraising, doing interfaith work, talking to Jewish, Christian and those of other faiths” that the mosque has grown to one of the largest mosques in Europe from humble beginnings over a hundred years ago.

Khan emphasised the importance of building the archives as “unless we understand our history we cannot really make progress going forward. One of the important things about this strong-room archive is that we preserve our history through that knowledge.”

Welcoming the guests, East London Mosque Trust Chairman, Habibur Rahman, said, “Our predecessors responsible for this mosque handed to us a legacy, and it was our duty to ensure it remained available in the best possible way for generations to come.”

The Mosque has about 250,000 documents starting from 1911 and “are important as primary sources in the writing of modern British social history and understanding the history of Muslim settlement, particularly in the East End,” he added.

The Mosque received help from the National Archives which supports all archives, in order to present as full a picture as possible of life in Britain. They have been advising the Mosque on the organisation, management, conservation for its archives.

Director of Research and Collections of the National Archives, Dr Valerie Johnson, said the collections “document the growth of the organisation from the establishment of the London Mosque Fund, to the first building in East London, to the purpose-built mosque and London Muslim Centre on Whitechapel Road. The records document the functions and activities of the mosque and London Muslim Centre and include minutes, correspondence, marriage records, finance records, photographs, architectural and building records, and press cuttings.”

The opening of a new archives strong-room is “truly important, helping to preserve archives and thereby delivering a valuable contribution to the greater good of religious and cultural heritage of this city and of the nation.”

Dr Johnson said Muslims need to archive their records as these are “integral to understanding our shared cultural heritage and are our collective memory, allowing society to hold institutions to account; to explore our collective and personal identities; to underpin research; to connect generations with the past, and to inspire.”

Cheadle Mosque raise over £600 for a children’s charity

Cheadle Mosque raised money for Children in Need selling the world’s biggest Pudsey made of Baarfi (Photo: Cheadle Mosque)

Nadine Osman

Cheadle Mosque and Community Centre raised £610 for Children in Need using a sweet creation of the charity mascot teddy Pudsey.

Technical boffins at the mosque in Wilmslow Road worked with Sanam Sweet House and Restaurant to serve the World’s Biggest Pudsey Baarfi (sweet South Asian confectionery) on November 17.

Community Action volunteer and one of the organisers of the event Afshan Choudry, told The Muslim News, “We are pretty sure this has never been created before and if you were at Friday prayers today, you would have had the opportunity to eat the only Baarfi Pudsy Bear in existence – if there was ever a claim to fame – that has to be one of the finest”.

The mosque’s administrator Arshad Sheikh added, “The biggest honour was to be supporting Children in Need – a charity whose super work makes life that bit better for those children who need our support. Isn’t it amazing that thousands upon thousands of people up and down the country can come together in manic fundraising to help others – others who they may never meet; but this is what a community is all about – and we are proud to be very much part of it”.

The confectionery sale marks the eighth year Cheadle Mosque raised funds for the BBC charity which raises money to change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. In 2015 the mosque raised over £480 and £526 the following year.

Other fundraising sales by Cheadle Mosque included ‘Manchester’s Biggest Cake’ and a ‘Samosa Mountain’.

A spokesman for the mosque told The Muslim News, “We feel it is really important as a mosque to invest in our local community – indeed it is Allah’s command upon us that we support our neighbours and those that close to us. We have recently raised funds for Age UK, Beechwood Cancer Care, and MIND through our Mosque Open Days – we hope to continue to work closely with local communities.”

Prayer outfit launched for UK market

Abdul Adil

A Malaysian company launched its women’s prayer outfit in London on October 21. Siti Khadijah claims its prayer outfit is more comfortable and elegant to wear than others in the market.

Telekung is a traditional Malay prayer dress worn by Muslim women during prayers to help them cover up quickly and easily. Like a uniform, it is worn specifically for prayers to ensure cleanliness.

Telekung is a special uniform used by the women from the Malay Archipelagos when performing their prayers and is synonymously associated with the Malay Culture.

Founder of SK, Padzilah Enda Sulaiman, a mother of six boys, was inspired to create premium prayer outfit when she “began to understand the common dilemma faced by Muslimah [Muslim women] when wearing poor quality prayer outfit during salah [prayers].”

“Besides these outfits would always be ill-fitted with poor cutting that did not stay put around the face and chin area. Therefore it motivated me to seek the best solution in creating the perfect prayer outfit,” she added.

The patented design introduced by SK is mainly focused on the facial design combining high-quality fabric ensuring comfort during prayer and stretchable material which will compliment any face shape and size.

SK offers four unique face designs to its collection of prayer outfits, which are recognizably different from the standard design. The materials used are of high-quality cotton, spun polyester, rayon and silk with the combination of beautifully crafted laces sewn in a meticulous manner.

Top Tories share platform with anti-Muslim Hindu extremist

Bob Blackman hosted the Hindu Forum of Britain who invited anti-Muslim Hindu nationalist Tapan Ghosh.  Also present (top) Priti Patel, Sajid Javid, Paul Scully, Damian Green,  Amber Rudd  and Theresa Villiers (Photo: Creative Commons)

Hamed Chapman

Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, and Cabinet Minister, Damian Green, were among other senior Conservative politicians to have rubbed shoulders with an anti-Muslim extremist during an event in the British parliament timed to celebrate Diwali last month.

Tapan Ghosh was an invited guest at the event despite previously advocating there should be forced birth control and conversion for Muslims. He boasted that he had created a “Hindu Defence Force” in West Bengal, where he was a founding member of Hindu Samhati, a far-right nationalist group.

Notably, Ghosh also praised the recent ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.  In other outrageous comments, he has also called for the United Nations to control the birth rate of Muslims and been boastful of his relationship with the English far-right leader Tommy Robinson.

The event in the House of Commons was hosted by Conservative MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman, on behalf of the Hindu Forum of Britain. Transport Minister, Theresa Villiers, Minister for International Development, Priti Patel, and Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, as well as Labour backbench MP, Paul Scully, were also understood to have attended the meeting.

Blackman, who is a member of the Communities and Local Government Committee, invited Ghosh as a keynote speaker for a separate event titled ‘Tolerating the Intolerant’ on the same day. “Had a good discussion on demography and global resistance against Islamic violence and aggression,” he later wrote when tweeting photographs clasping hands with the former leader of the far-right English Defence League.

The Muslim Council of Britain said it was “astounding” that a Conservative MP seems to have welcomed to Parliament with open arms a man who trades in propagating hatred against Muslims in India. “If we are to tackle extremism as the Government has stated it wants to, then we should not see it emanating on its own doorstep and apparently condoned by its own MPs.”

Others condemning senior Government ministers rubbing shoulders with such an obnoxious character included Labour MP Wes Streeting. “We don’t always know the background of everyone we meet or appear alongside as MPs, but I hope colleagues will clear this up by roundly condemning his remarks and ensuring that he isn’t welcomed to Parliament again,” he told Middle East Eye.

“People should be in no doubt about how painful this invitation [to Parliament] will be to Muslims who are sadly on the receiving end of everyday abuse as a result of the remarks expressed by the likes of Tapan Ghosh. We need to send a message from across the political divide that we will never be bystanders to Islamophobia in Parliament or in our communities,” Streeting warned.

Labour MP Naz Shah raised a point of order in the House of Commons to criticise Ghosh’s attendance at the two events. Shah said that “Ghosh holds abhorrent views, is on record for calling upon the United Nations to control the birth rate of Muslims, praising the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma and also said Muslims should be forced to leave their religion if they come to a western country.”

“Only this Monday Mr Ghosh was pictured with UK far-right extremist leader Tommy Robinson.

“It seems incredible to me that any member would think it would be acceptable to host a meeting with this individual, let alone invite him to our House of Commons.”

A Home Office spokesman for Amber Rudd said: “The Home Secretary fundamentally disagrees with Mr Ghosh’s views on Islam.

“The Home Secretary accepted an invitation from the Hindu Forum of Britain to attend an event in Parliament last week to celebrate Diwali.

“She did not speak to Mr Ghosh and was not present when he spoke.”

The Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Muslim Community in Blackman’s constituency said that they were dismayed to hear that their MP had associated himself with someone renowned for his “venom and hatred against Muslims.” They expressed their “unreserved exception” about the visit at a time when Islamophobia was already at record levels.

“Our community is at the forefront of interfaith dialogue. Yet this week, you have shown disregard for the fears and sentiments of thousands of your constituents,” KSIMC President, Mustafa Mohamed, told the Tory politician. Five issues raised here to be addressed including what due diligence was carried out about Ghosh, whether he agreed with legislation to reduce the Muslim birthrate, if he shared aspiration for an anti-Muslim defence force, that Blackman condemned praise for attacks on Rohingya Muslims and he would apologise for sharing a platform with such a character and insinuating Muslims were second-class citizens.

Blackman said: “In our commitment as a nation to fight extremism and radicalisation it is important to hear the voices of suppressed minorities.”

Blackman added: “Let me be clear, I did not invite Tapan Ghosh to this House of Commons. I hosted, in my capacity as Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus, two functions on [October 18], at which Tapan Ghosh attended.”

Satish Sharma, General Secretary of the National Council of Hindu Temples, who organised the event, defending the decision to inviting Ghosh said the event was “specifically focused on the plight of girls in the Hindu and Sikh traditions”.

“[Ghosh] has been working in the particular space in Bengal for a long period of time. Controversy is something that an awful lot of people court and we couldn’t find somebody [else] who had his decades of grassroots experience,” he said.

Cambridge Uni accused of stifling free speech after threatening to shut Palestine event

Elham Asaad Buaras

Over 350 people, senior academics from leading UK universities, have signed an open letter protesting “an intolerable violation of academic freedom” after Cambridge University officials threatened to shut down a Palestine Society event on November 8.

Lecturers at Cambridge, Warwick, the London School of Economics and SOAS have all added their names to the letter which received hundreds of signatures from staff and students.

University officials contacted the student-run Cambridge University Palestine Society (PalSoc) just hours before their talk was due to take place, demanding their Director of Communications, Paul Mylrea, be installed as the panel’s chair “to ensure open, robust and lawful debate”.

Organisers agreed to allow Mylrea to chair – replacing SOAS Palestinian academic Ruba Salih – after being told the event would be forcibly cancelled if they failed to comply.

The event, titled ‘BDS and the globalised struggle for Palestinian rights’, was set to feature a panel of pro-Palestinian speakers, including Omar Barghouti and former NUS president Malia Bouattia.

Barghouti, the founder of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement, leads the campaign for international economic and political sanctions to be placed on Israel over its violation of international law and treatment of the Palestinians.

The open letter seen by The Muslim News reads: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the attempt by university authorities to interfere in a panel event…and believe such efforts constitute an intolerable violation of academic freedom…

“It is disturbing that [they] consider such censorship appropriate for an event designed to raise awareness of the human rights of Palestinians and indigenous peoples globally.

“It is deeply concerning that they have attempted to suppress this event through aggressive institutional intervention.

“In doing so, the university risks being seen to side with those who hope to silence the voices of the marginalised, and raises questions about the extent of its commitment to free speech.”

PalSoc described the University intervention as “heavy-handed” and authoritarian”. Adding, “Their replacement of a Palestinian woman with a white male member of university management, with no substantiation of their claim that the former was incapable of neutrality other than racialised insinuation, sends deeply disturbing signals about the prevalence of institutionalized discrimination at Cambridge.”

“Similar events at LSE … raise the same concerns,” added the Spokesperson.

Academic signatories include Dr Priyamvada Gopal and Dr Anne Alexander, both of Cambridge, Jamie Woodcock, a fellow at LSE, and Eleanor Tiplady Higgs, a senior fellow at SOAS.

The intervention comes not long after Cambridge banned its Arabic students from travelling to the Palestinian territories, following a spate of interrogations and deportations by Israeli security.

A spokesman for the University of Cambridge told The Muslim News: “The University is fully committed to freedom of speech and expression. We understand that certain events and issues evoke strong feelings among people and communities. But we believe it is important that staff, students and visitors to the University can participate fully in legitimate debate, partly so that they are able to question and test controversial ideas.

“We have no reason to believe that these events are in any way unlawful. Events will be well-chaired in order to ensure open, robust and lawful debate. In this instance, following calls from the organisers for extra safety measures, a neutral chair was provided to ensure that all sides were represented in what is an important and often emotionally charged debate.”

However, University officials failed to answer if there is a precedent to their demands of installing their own panellists to student-run events.

Anti-Balfour ads banned by TfL appear on black cabs

Elham Asaad Buaras

An advertising campaign to raise awareness of the negative effects of the Balfour Declaration which was banned by transport bosses in the British capital, London, was used on the iconic black cabs.

The campaign, which is running using the hashtag #MakeItRight, is an attempt to highlight the negative impact of the Balfour Declaration 100 years after it was signed.

Earlier last month, London Underground said it blocked the campaign from trains on the basis that the issue is politically controversial; however, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, accused the body of censorship.

The adverts had been drawn up to run in key stations in the run-up to the centenary of the signing of the declaration on November 2 for the duration of the month.

Over 50 black cabs drove around London’s streets highlighted the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories and in refugee camps as a result of the “British Government’s broken promise”.

A spokesman for the Palestinian Mission to the UK explained to The Muslim News, “Our campaign aims to raise awareness about the consequences of the Balfour Declaration which subsequently led to the forced expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948. The campaign consists of images of Palestinians leading ordinary lives before their dispossession, contrasted with images of them as refugees and victims of war and occupation.”

“These images are anchored by a quote from the Balfour Declaration of 1917. ‘Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.’ The non-Jewish communities being the Muslim and Christian Palestinians who made up 90 percent of the population at the time.”

UK celebrates Balfour Declaration as Palestinians suffer under Israeli occupation and loss of their land

Demonstrators in London protest against the Balfour Declaration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the British capital, on November 4 (Photo: Isabel Infantes/ AA)

Aishah Ali

Thousands of protesters marched in London on November 4 to condemn the centurion of the Balfour Declaration that led to the creation of the Israeli state and loss of Palestinian land. The demonstration came days after the UK hosted Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to celebrate the declaration.

The march began from the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square to Parliament Square in Westminster. Although it was largely peaceful, a dozen or so pro-Israeli demonstrators tried to intervene to counter-protest but were moved away by police.

The Balfour Declaration was a letter signed 100 years ago by the then Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, to the leader of British Jewish community, Lord Walter Rothschild, stating support for a “national home for Jewish people” in Palestine. It further stated that the British Government will “use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievements of this objective.”

Protestors demanded that the British Government should apologise for the consequences of that decision. A protestor from Birmingham told The Muslim News, “Palestine was not Britain’s nor Balfour’s to give away, and it has now led to decades of brutal occupation for millions of people.”

In Parliament Square, Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian activist, said Britain should “apologise to us and also apologise to the good Jewish people” who have been used as “instruments in the colonial system in the British Empire.”

Other supporters and speakers included film director Ken Loach who said, “It was not the British people who signed Balfour, but the British ruling class” and it is a “monument to their imperialist arrogance.” He added, “Just look at the map and see the destruction and theft of land that has taken place.”

Celebrating the occasion in London, Prime Minister, Theresa May, hosted Israeli Prime Minister at a gala dinner saying Britain is “proud of our pioneering role in the creation of the state of Israel.” In her speech at Lancaster House, she said she was “proud of the relationship we have built with Israel” and called for “renewed resolve to support a lasting peace that is in the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians”.

However, she refused to apologise to the Palestinian people. “When some people suggest we should apologise for this letter, I say absolutely not,” she told those who had gathered to celebrate the creation of Israel on Palestinian land.

Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who did not attend the dinner, because of “pre-existing engagements” said“ A hundred years on the second part of Britain’s pledge has still not been fulfilled and Britain’s historic role means we have a special responsibility to the Palestinian people, who are still denied their basic rights.

“So let us mark the Balfour anniversary by recognizing Palestine as a step towards a genuine two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, increasing international pressure for an end to the 50-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, illegal settlement expansion and the blockade of Gaza.”

However, Corbyn sent Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, to join in the celebration with Netanyahu and May.

Organisers of the event included Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Stop the War, Friends of Al Aqsa and Muslim Associate of Britain (MAB).

Islamic School wins Mayor of London’s Environment and Healthy Living Award

London Islamic School has won the Team London Environment and Healthy Living Award 2017 for outstanding contribution to volunteering (Photo: LIS)

London Islamic School, a Muslim Secondary school for boys, has been awarded the Team London Environment and Healthy Living Award 2017 for outstanding contribution to volunteering on November 6.

The Team London Awards ceremony celebrates the individuals, teams and corporate volunteers who are making outstanding contributions as active citizens in their communities and helping to make the capital, London, the best city it can be.

London Islamic School achieved this award for providing opportunities in volunteering through its Youth Travel Ambassadors scheme. Youth Travel Ambassadors comprises of a number of student volunteers working in partnership with the transport for London to promote active travel in the school and community. The team came up with a project they named Energy & Safety: Our Priority #Energize which involved a campaign consisting of a series of team-led assemblies as well as partner assemblies with NGO’s educating students and staff about safe and responsible travel, health and wellbeing.

Mohammad Yaser, Head of Citizenship at London Islamic School, said, “The entire volunteering project from start to finish was an amazing experience for the boys and all involved. This experience has provided the YTA boys with an insight of the real world.”

Muslim charity to keep over 21,000 UK homeless warm

Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham talking to Human Appeal staff distributing coats to rough sleepers on ‎October‎ ‎19‎ (Photo: Charles Lawley/ Human Appeal)

Nadine Osman

British Muslim faith-based charity, Human Appeal, has launched its winter Wrap Up Campaign where they are aiming to collect and donate at least 21,00 coats to the rough sleepers of four major UK cities.

Wrap Up Manchester, Wrap Up London, Wrap Up Glasgow and Wrap Up Birmingham campaigns started on November 13 and run until November 15.

The campaign will also provide coats to charities to help the elderly in crisis, children in poverty and refugees.

Human Appeal will be running the efforts in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow, where they aim to collect 3,000 coats and are the main charity sponsor of Wrap Up London, run by HandsOn London, who hope to collect 18,000 coats.

This campaign will be Wrap Up Manchester’s second year and Wrap Up London’s seventh year, but the first year of the project in Glasgow and Birmingham. Last year, when Human Appeal launched Wrap Up Manchester they aimed to collect 700 coats for vulnerable people in Manchester over the winter, instead, 1,500 items were received.

Supported by Network Rail, Human Appeal’s Wrap Up Campaign will use Manchester Piccadilly station as a coat donation site on November 13, 14 and 15 and SafeStore; using their self-storage centres across Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham as donation sites throughout the collection period.

In a statement to The Muslim News Othman Moqbel, Human Appeal’s Chief Executive, said, “The winter months can be unforgiving for those sleeping rough or unable to afford a winter coat. We, in Human Appeal, want to not only offer a hand to those in desperate need of humanitarian aid but to wrap an arm around those in desperate need of warmth. We aim to help people in need all across the world regardless of their race or religion or gender or location. Whether it’s someone in need in Mosul or Manchester, Human Appeal aims to help in every humanitarian crisis.”

Samra Said, Human Appeal’s UK Domestic Programmes Manager, who is leading on the Wrap Up Campaign, says, “The number of rough sleepers in the UK has risen by 133 percent over 5 years. In the harsh winter months, Human Appeal empowers all communities to come together through Wrap Up Manchester to help those most in need. Warm someone’s body with a coat and warm their heart by letting them know you care.”

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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